The 2016 Honda Civic doesn’t just have to be more exciting than the outgoing sedan, but more upscale to make up for the sins of the old car’s economizing.
Honda invited me to the 2016 Civic reveal at YouTube’s Los Angeles outpost, where you might’ve seen my thumbs moving furiously across my phone in the livestream. In any case, I also got to poke around the new Civic Touring sedan Wednesday night.
The exterior wasn’t exactly a surprise, given the spy photos last week and the patent renderings and the fact we’ve been told since April’s launch of the Honda Civic Concept that the production car would stay pretty faithful to the show car. It’s undeniably a departure from any previous Civic sedan.
Some of the details, though, sound too trendy to take seriously. Why do the wheels have black-painted inserts? Why do the LED lights have so many eyes like the 2016 Accord‘s? What’s with the enormous camera in the side mirror for the LaneWatch system? Aside from the bloated right-side mirror, it doesn’t spoil the whole package.
What would normally irk me, though, is how much the Civic sedan looks like it should have a tailgate instead of a conventional trunk. The 2016 Civic follows a trend that the 2016 Chevy Malibu also gets in on, where these three-box shapes get super-short rear ends. Fortunately, this new Civic will get a UK-built five-door hatchback variant, so I don’t have to complain.
The Civic may not break any new styling ground, but it uses modern design themes in a clean way that makes this top Touring model look far classier than most mainstream compacts.
Open the doors, however, and the Civic does go above what many people thought could be offered in a Civic. It was only six or seven years ago you could even get leather in a Civic from the factory. But the 2016 version is clearly gunning for the equipment offered by the Koreans and Americans, with the panache from Mazda and Volkswagen. I mean, this Civic Touring even has heated rear seats.
Gone is the quirkiness of the two-tired dash in the old Civic – and its acres of plastic and fit lines – replaced with a more conventional-looking dash that’s covered in stitched surfaces and large metallic accents. Colors are sharp in both the digital dash display and the central touchscreen that supports Garmin navigation (Yay!) but still lacks a volume knob (Come. On. Honda.). Suddenly even the Accord, let alone some Acura products, look less expensive.
We couldn’t open the hood to see the new turbocharged engine, the trunk is a trunk and while the sloping roofline doesn’t impede on headroom too much, the rear seat is low and access is obviously compromised. But we’ll find out somewhat soon how the 2016 Civic drives, what the lowlier models feel like without the Touring’s bells and whistles and how much it’s all going to cost when the car goes on sale in the U.S. at the end of the year.
On the basis of the first slam of the doors, though, the 2016 Civic is a promising sign Honda isn’t going to rest solely on its reputation this time.
Photos: Zac Estrada / Carscoops & Honda